Borderline Personality Disorder Test

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition that affects a person's ability to regulate emotions, which can lead to relationship problems and impulsivity. BPD is diagnosed based on the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Five of the nine criteria must be met in order for BPD to be diagnosed.

Only a trained and qualified mental health professional can diagnose borderline personality disorder, but there are certain questions you can ask yourself if you think that you or a loved one may have this condition. 

borderline personality disorder

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Border Personality Disorder at-Home Test

How to Take the Test

If you answer "yes" to five or more of these nine questions, speak to a mental health professional. This test should not be used as a self-diagnosis tool.

1. Do you have persistent fears of being abandoned?

A person with BPD may show frantic efforts to avoid imagined or real abandonment. They may start relationships quickly and also end them fast because of the fear of being abandoned.

2. Do you have a history of unstable and chaotic relationships?

Someone with BPD often shows a pattern of intense and unstable relationships. They may alternate between:

  • Idealizing: Creating extreme love, closeness, and worship.
  • Devaluing: Leading to extreme anger or hatred.

BPD also creates splitting, which means they see things as black or white and cannot hold opposing thoughts at the same time. All of this can manifest with behaviors such as ambivalence, avoidance, and preoccupied attachment in romantic relationships.

3. Do you have a pervasive feeling you do not know who you are or what you believe?

An unstable self-image or sense of self is common, which can affect a person's moods and relationships. Identity disturbance in BPD can cause a person to have inconsistent beliefs, behaviors, or values.

Identity diffusion manifests as problems understanding who you are in relation to other people. This can lead to boundary issues in relationships.

4. Are you driven to impulses that you know might hurt you?

Impulsivity or the tendency to do things without thinking first can cause reckless behavior. For BPD, there should be impulsivity in at least two areas that are seen as self-damaging. Some examples of impulsivity are:

  • Irresponsible driving
  • Spending sprees
  • Unprotected sex

Could It Be Bipolar Disorder?

If you answer "yes" to five or more of these nine questions, speak to a mental health professional. This test cannot result in a medical diagnosis.

5. Have you acted in a way that is suicidal or have intentionally hurt yourself?

Self-harming behavior includes recurrent suicidal attempts and threats. The rate of suicide and non-suicidal self-injury is higher among people with BPD. Self-mutilation may also occur, which can involve:

  • Cutting
  • Biting
  • Bruising
  • Burning
  • Head-banging

When to Seek Emergency Help

If you have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained counselor. If you or your loved ones are in immediate danger, call 911 for help.

6. Are you highly reactive and have rapid and intense mood swings?

BPD can lead to periods of intense mood swings and instability in emotions. Moods may change quickly, often, and intensely. This is called affective instability and causes a person to swing back and forth between:

  • Euphoria: Intense happiness
  • Dysphoria: Dissatisfaction and restlessness

Understanding Mood Swings

Mood swings in people with BPD differ from those with bipolar disorder in that the latter often occurs within hours rather than weeks or months. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is also characterized by mood swings.

7. Do you have feelings of emptiness that you cannot shake?

BPD can create a chronic feeling of emptiness inside. This is different from a distorted and unstable self-image. It is also separate from feeling hopelessness and loneliness.

Some describe it as a lack of self-feeling, while others consider it to be the inability to internalize positive thoughts and experiences.

8. Are you prone to rage or are unable to control your temper?

Problems controlling anger and experiencing intense anger can occur. Anger is often fueled by:

  • Oversensitivity
  • Sudden reactivity
  • Rapid changes in emotion (emotional lability)
  • Unhealthy rumination

At the far end of the spectrum, some people with BPD show signs of psychotic behaviors. This may include hallucinations that are typically found in people who are diagnosed with psychotic disorders.

Decoding Violent Behavoir

Although people with BPD are often portrayed as being violent, they tend to direct negative emotions inward. By contrast, an antisocial personality disorder is characterized by the externalization of emotions and a greater tendency toward physical outbursts.

9. Do you get paranoid or shut down during stress?

Paranoid thinking can occur, especially during stress, and make a person fear others. Severe dissociative symptoms can also happen. Dissociation refers to feeling you are out of your own body and have lost the sense of identity. It can also lead to the blunting of emotions.

What to Do

In a clinical setting, having five of the nine criteria is usually enough to diagnose BPD. In a self-assessment situation, the results should be approached with caution and not be considered diagnostic. 

If you answer “yes” to five or more of the above questions, you should consider speaking with a qualified mental health professional. Even if you score less, you should still consider seeking help if the behaviors or thoughts are causing persistent distress or impairing your quality of life.

There are treatment options for people with BPD that can lessen symptoms and improve the quality of life. In addition, studies show that the overall rate of remission among people treated for BPD can be high, and symptoms can improve with time.

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